*Note: a version of this write-up was originally published by Travel Iowa. More info below post.
A die-hard arts community can be hard to come by. Whether you’re near one or not, we’d love to have you come visit ours! And when you do, you can stay, play, and sleep in a living work of art.
Full disclosure: in my own travels, I prefer to couch surf or find one of those places that hasn’t been redecorated since the 1920s and is still haunted by the original owner.
When a reasonable human being comes to town, however, I always direct them to The Current Hotel in downtown Davenport. With its amazing staff and focus on local culture, it’s located in what was the city’s first skyscraper – which once housed the city’s first hotel – and was the last structure designed by renowned architect and father of The White City Daniel Burnham.
The decor incorporates works by over 40 regional artists, with pieces displayed in each room as well as in common areas. The hotel doesn’t focus on one genre or style over another, either. Abstract, modern, dada, kitsch – people seem to love the giant cow named Bessie – its eclecticism isn’t the only thing that makes it unique.
The Current is one of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Bourgeois, yes, but not nearly as uptight as it sounds. The series launched in 2010 and is the brainchild of Richard C. Kessler, “indie hotelier” and all-around righteous dude.
This is actually Davenport’s second Autograph Collection hotel. The Hotel Blackhawk a few blocks down was among the world’s first purchased by Marriott in Autograph’s inaugural year. Soon afterward, it was named Iowa’s highest rated hotel.
But The Current is closing in on the title. Here are a few reasons why:
A friendly and helpful staff. Whether you’re a weekend visitor or just flopping overnight, they’re eager to make your stay more pleasant and help you with everything from figuring out how to use the elevator (which requires a room key to operate – a great safety feature for anyone traveling alone) to locating the barely-accessible Colonel Davenport House.
Marriott boasts that The Current is one if the line’s best examples of urban living, alongside the Hotel Beaux Arts in Miami and the Blackstone in Chicago.
The salt-water pool and hot tub are essentially mineral baths, exfoliating and nourishing your skin as you swim and relax.
Did I mention there are works by area artists everywhere you look, including original pieces in every room?
Viva, the restaurant on the ground floor, is a nice spot at any point during the day. There’s usually a small group of locals sitting at the bar snacking on tapas and avoiding work as long as possible. (As fans of Rick Steves know, only the best hotel bars attract locals.)
Meanwhile, the sky deck bar, called simply Up (sigh), offers the best rooftop view in all of downtown overlooking the Mississippi River. On a clear night, with the fires burning and twinkle lights overhead, you can sip a martini and pretend you’re an independently wealthy jet setter.
You’re going to want to primp before you head to Up so you can look as fancy as you feel. Don’t worry – you can style your hair while you catch the latest episode of Superior Donuts thanks to one five-year-old patron’s favorite room feature: a little flatscreen television neatly centered in the bathroom mirror.
My favorite feature: the toilet. Just look at this thing!
And this hotel is blocks from the River Music Experience, Analog Arcade, the Star Dog Gallery, and Bootleg Hill Honey Meads, to name a few of my favorite spots.
Do yourself a favor and reserve a room at The Current the next time you’re in town. Your butt will thank you.
Travel Iowa has done some restructuring, so much of the content I created for them will no longer appear. It’s still a good resource for exploring the state; no hard feelings here. But some of the posts are about places and/or events I like enough to rewrite and promote for free. Every single location listed above is one of those places.
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